Constitution Amendment : Mark Allays Fears of Hidden Agenda

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President of the Senate, Senator David Mark has allayed the fears and anxiety of Nigerians that the National Assembly has a preconceived idea on the amendment of the 1999 Constitution.

Senator Mark told a delegation of the Nigeria Bar Association (NBA), led by its President, Chief Okey Wali, SAN who visited him in his office in Abuja yesterday that the National Assembly has neither ulterior motive nor hidden agenda on the amendment.

He explained; “all we are interested in is to mobilize and get all Nigerians involved in the process of Constitution amendment. We have no particular agenda but that which majority of Nigerians desire.

“I have heard people criticize my position on the discredibility of State creation. No part of Nigeria or geo-political zone in the country that has not requested for State. It is not a David Mark agenda. We shall weigh the scale and respond to the genuine desire of Nigerians.

“This is democracy; everybody should be allowed to express him or herself in the process. What we shall oppose is a situation where a vocal minority would want to impose its views or position on the majority.”

Senator Mark said all interest groups would have a say in the process adding that the amendment would be guided by the dictates of the Constitution, “we shall not do anything outside the Constitution.”

He noted that public hearings would be held in the 109 Senatorial districts by the Senate, while the House of Representatives would visit the 360 Federal Constituencies to gather the views of Nigerians on the amendment.

In his remarks, Deputy Senate President, Senator Ike Ekweremadu told the NBA that the process of Constitution amendment does not require referendum but assured that no Section would be denied input in the process.

Also speaking, Senate Leader, Victor Ndoma-Egba, SAN, restated that the process of Constitution amendment would be all embracing so that no one or group would feel sidelined. He stressed that referendum as a process can only be accepted if the Constitution is amended to accommodate it.

Earlier, the President of the NBA, Okey Wali suggested a referendum as a process for the amendment of the 1999 Constitution. Wali said it is only when all Nigerians participate in the process that the Constitution can be truly called the Constitution of the people of Nigeria.

Wali announced the Constitution of two special Committees of the NBA on Legislative and Constitution Matter and Law Reforms headed by Paul Erokoro, SAN and Charles Edosanwan, SAN to interface with the National Assembly on behalf of the NBA.

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